Saturday, December 31, 2005

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

One of the reviews on the inside front page of this book compared it to Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". This didn't seem too promising to me because I thought that book was dull and uninspiring; fortunately, "Life of Pi" didn't have those qualities. The "Author's Note" at the start of the book promised that the story would make me believe in God. Well, I'm not too sure it managed to do that (at least, not any more than any other book has). However, this was an absorbing and interesting read that made my ongoing (and very slow) quest to read all the Booker Prize winners seem more achievable than it did a few months back when I started, and struggled with, and temporarily gave up on "The Blind Assassin". (Watch this space to discover if I ever make it to the end!)

In case you don't already know, this is a story about a young Indian boy, Pi Patel, who is shipwrecked and finds himself living on a lifeboat with only a hungry Bengal tiger for company. His efforts to survive the threats of tiger, elements, hunger and thirst are the main part of the story, but I almost didn't get to that part because it took me over a week of starting and stopping to really get into this book. Nothing much happens during the first 150 pages while we learn details of Pi's childhood and religious conversion. Luckily, these pages are well written and amusing enough to have kept me trying until the action picked up.

Anyway, once the story got going, this book became quite un-put-downable and for that reason I would recommend it. If you've read it, I'd be curious to know if this story made *you* believe in God (or had some other profound effect). Leave a note in the comments!

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